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Silverfoxesclub-digest
Thursday, April 05 2001
Volume 01 : Number 197

In this issue:

-Ancient Egyptian Lovers (20)
-Occupy your mind

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From: "Ben Boxer" benboxer@mediaone.net
Subject: Ancient Egyptian Lovers

Our inexorable compulsion toward love of the same sex may be the greatest mystery of human behavior. In all the millennia of man, too little research has been done to uncover its causes or its essential reason for being. Negative assumptions have always been made about it, seldom balanced in even a small way by anything positive throughout the history of civilization.

The most notable exception is ancient Greek culture. It stands as a beacon tracing the path of passionate same-sex love from the pre-dawn of myth and legend to the high noon of the risen day that shone upon the Sacred Band of Thebes, a classical legion of warrior-lovers. Greek influence continued to shine through the early and late afternoon of ancient Rome, but dimmed in Rome's twilight and was nearly extinguished by the spread of Christianity which brought on the night of the Dark Ages.

Still, we look for glimmers elsewhere along the way, sensing that despite the efforts of a hetroid world to bury our history as a cat seeks to cover its own dirt, society -- with its perception of us as the manure of mankind -- has failed to inter all of the evidence supporting our inexorably human right to be. We overturn, overturn, overturn, hoping eventually to uncover all of what we are and what we have been. We seek to roll the stone away and to bring forth the good news from the tomb.

In a literal sense, that metaphor may be applied to the discovery in 1964 of an underground chamber in Egypt near the pyramid of Unas. At diggings in the ancient necropolis of Saqqara, an Egyptian archaeologist named Mounir Basta came across well-concealed passageways carved into rock. As they were low and narrow, Basta had to crawl on all fours to make his way through.

Eventually, to his amazement, he found himself in a subterranean suite of rooms decorated with painted scenes showing two men embracing in the most intimate manner possible within the precepts of ancient Egyptian art.

The murals are unique in Egyptian archaeology. They raise the specter of homosexual love to the hetroid mind accustomed to seeing such mutual intimacy in Egyptian tomb paintings confined to members of opposite sexes.

One man clasps the other's forearm. The other man is gripping his shoulder firmly. Their noses are touching, and their bodies are so close it looks as if the belts of their kilts are knotted together. This mural, one of several, is the most intimate and is painted on the wall of the innermost room which would have been where their mummies were interred together for eternity.

Over the door to their tomb, carved into the rock, the names of Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep are inscribed as one over the doorway, as if they were husband and wife. Various portions of the names are translated as "life" and "satisfied." Other portions of these cleverly devised names may be variously translated as "joined together" or "united with" or "associates" or "friends" or "house mates." Roommates! Names thus entwined often represent "joined in death as in life" -- clearly defining them as a couple!

Hetroid archaeologists would like to think of these two men as anything except gay lovers, but the tomb further reveals that they shared not only a house together but also identical titles in the service of King Niuserre in the Fifth Dynasty, c. 2500 BC: "Overseers of the Manicurists in the Palace of the King."

Not gay, eh? Long live the Gay Gene!
------------------------------
From: Nils1935@AOL.COM
Subject: Re: Ancient Egyptian Lovers

History is fascinating. Thanks for your very interesting comments, Ben. I question, however, if it is really accurate to say that Christianity brought on the Dark Ages. Of course my reading of history is colored by my own convictions, too.

My understanding is that Christianity did not cause the collapse of the Western Roman Empire nor the Dark Ages.

(1) The western half of the Roman Empire collapsed because of the huge migrations of "barbarians" from the east into western Europe, but by then the imperial interest was focused in Constantinople, the "Second Rome," and that eastern half of the Roman Empire flourished as a Christian state until the invasion of Islam from the south.

(2) Nor did Christianity in the west cause the Dark Ages to happen. After the collapse of the western Roman Empire Christianity continued to flourish in Western Europe and faced the invasions of "barbarians" from the East, while Christian monks saved what knowledge they could, managing to be small islands of light in those same Dark Ages, conducting schools when possible, and helping the newcomers (the "Barbarians" or "Bearded Ones") form new civilizations.

I wonder just how "Dark" the Dark Ages really was. With so much politico-social turmoil, it's a wonder anything got saved to be rediscovered later. When the Renaissance began, it started with texts from the monasteries, as well as texts from other, "pagan" sources, and the marvelous mathematica of the Muslim scholars.

End of lecture.

Nils.
------------------------------
From: "Ben Boxer" benboxer@mediaone.net
Subject: Ancient Egyptian Lovers

Nils1935@aol.com wrote:
My understanding is that Christianity did not cause the collapse of the Western Roman Empire nor the Dark Ages.

Ben Boxer responds:
You sound like St. Augustine in "On the City of God (Against the Pagans)" with his lengthy refutation of the pagans' assignment of culpability to the Christians for the fall of Rome, except yours is brief! He took 30 years to write that book! He plowed his way through Greek philosophers, Roman statesmen, the epic poets and, of course, the Bible, relentlessly bent on vindicating the Church of that charge. Who am I to argue with that great and noble mind? He won his point.

It was true that before Alaric's attack on Rome in 410 AD, the western empire was already in a severe state of decay. Augustine's conclusion was that it was pagan Rome, the Rome of the flesh, which was ruined; Christian Rome, the Rome of spirit, had survived to become, arguably, an earthly manifestation of the City of God -- in spirit, of course. Maybe he was right. The Popes are still there, at least in Vatican City!

I first read Augustine when I was 15. As a non-Catholic and thus uncatechized (although circumcised), I had a hard row to hoe getting through "City of God," but a much easier and enjoyable time with "The Confessions." I had already read Plato. Augustine suggested that the resurrection of the faithful which would come at the end (1000 AD) of (his) millennium would include the restoration of the earthly body, presumably to take up residence in "heaven." The Platonists also had a concept of a body ascending to heaven, but they fell apart over the argument that bodies would be too heavy to stay there and would fall out of heaven. Very materialistic thinking on both sides, for my money.

I have heard arguments in favor of an Augustinian sense of the resurrected body's "spiritual" form, thus light enough to ride along on the divine clouds "up there somewhere," but I never found that in Augustine and think of it as defending the indefensible. Being generally irreligious in the established denominational sense, I suppose I don't really care about religious arguments pro or con.

In any case, I would not dare to scrap with you, of all people, on any of these issues because you are one of the rare ones I know face to face, and I know where you are coming from and why. And I know you can whip my ass in any theological argument. Enough said.

The only thing I do suggest is that we are looking at the so-called "Dark Ages" from a different perspective. Perhaps I suffer from too personal a view of western history.

I see them more as what came after the passing of the beauty of the Greek and Roman Empires and the refutation of their "pagan" values -- which values included valuing people like me -- and less as the result of barbarian incursions, major population shifts to northern climates, the collapse of stable government, schools, libraries, a uniform currency, a common language, barter replacing money as the major purchasing system, cities and towns destroyed and the easy transportation between them made extremely difficult, if not impossible, by the wanton destruction of Roman roads.

The rise of a very simple form of government called "feudalism" after the fall of Rome proved to be no match for the unrivalled power of the Roman Catholic Church as a strong unifying force. It was "the tie that binds," a blessing to some, a curse to others. For my kind, it was a curse. It was the settling of a dense darkness, a miasma of suppression and oppression supported by dogma the noble St. Augustine helped immeasurably to establish through his work.

You spoke in your posting of "Christian monks" who "saved what knowledge they could," thus becoming "small islands of light in those same Dark Ages, conducting schools when possible, and helping the newcomers (the 'Barbarians' or 'Bearded Ones')" -- does that mean Barbarella was a bearded lady? -- "form new civilizations." Beautiful, Nils, beautiful!

In those words, you speak also for me. The knowledge they saved was secular Greek and Roman. Those "small islands of light" are, to me, symbolic of us, for I believe many among those monks were of our breed, seeking sanctuary in the cloisters, the closets, of the Church from the darker passages of Hebrew and Christian scripture used in judgment on unprotected laymen and which still bedevil us today. Just my opinion.

As for the "eastern" civilization, I have always perceived more enlightenment there than in the Church of Rome. The Byzantine Empire, founded when the capital of the Roman Empire was transferred from Rome to Constantinople in 324, existed in the eastern Mediterranean area until the fifteenth century.

The arts and culture of this "New Rome" continued the pan-Mediterranean traditions of the late antique Greco-Roman world, setting the standard of cultural excellence for the Latin West and the Islamic East. The results of the cultural development of the Byzantine Empire during these centuries has had a lasting impact on such modern nations as Albania, Armenia, Belorus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Egypt, Georgia, Greece, Rumania, the Russian Federation, Serbia, Syria, Ukraine, and Turkey.

In the sphere of influence of the Eastern Church, there were no "Dark Ages." It did not turn its back on Greek and Roman culture as did the Church at Rome. It did not fall until the mighty tide of Islam sent it crashing in the flood of changing times.

You speak of the Renaissance beginning "with texts from the monasteries, as well as texts from other, 'pagan' sources, and the marvelous mathematics of the Muslim scholars." How right you are. Those texts from the monasteries, however, were not necessarily Biblical. The influence of Humanism brought about the end of the Middle Ages, reflected in the increase of secular subjects, i.e. subjects not of the church.

Renaissance means "rebirth." Rebirth from what? Birth is an emergence from the darkness of the womb. Rebirth, the Renaissance, was the emergence of western man from the Dark Ages. The new quest for the enlightenment of scientific precision and greater realism culminated in the superb balance of harmony of the three giants of the High Renaissance in the 15th and 16th centuries: Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael.

Nils, baby, those were OUR boys! No more of your "small islands of light." Now it was ILLUMINATION, big time! We know a lot about Leonardo and his taste for young men. He had himself a harem of pretty faces, and was, by all reports, as sweet a silverfox as ever lived. Michelangelo, on the other hand, was on the ugly side in face and disposition, but he sure had the right stuff, and don't tell me he didn't sleep with the model for his magnificent "David"!

I know less about Raphael, except that he was a young and tender beauty who idolized silverfoxy Pope Leo X and painted him so well. One hears also that Leo adored him, too. He gave him enough Vatican commissions to keep him in clover for his relatively short life.

Some years after Raphael's death at 37, Michelangelo wrote: "Everything he knew about art he got from me." It makes you wonder what other tricks the old curmudgeon may have taught the younger man.

It was the Renaissance, you know. Dark Ages, out! Long live the Gay Gene!
------------------------------
From: Jack McGee jackmc@rocketmail.com
Subject: Re: Ancient Egyptian Lovers

You're right about Augustine's writings...City of God was deadly hard to read, but at least some of the things he confessed to were interesting....some of them things I plan to continue doing for many more years.......
------------------------------
From: Nils1935@AOL.COM
Subject: Re: Ancient Egyptian Lovers

As usual BB and I are in the same ballpark, perhaps batting differently (not just with limp wrists which we do have in common), but like the true gentlemen we are, always agreeing to disagree when necessary, and to laugh with one another when we do agree (which happens in almost every discussion).

The final years of "pagan decadence" of Rome saw so much civil disorder, violence, etc., that I wonder why folks still blame Christianity for the fall of the Roman empire in the west. Pope Leo at the bridge, holding back the marvelously wild and free people from the eastern steppes, is a symbol to me of the small islands of "civility" in western Europe in the early "Dark Ages." Leo saved what was left of Rome and its people. And in saving small islands of "civilization" the cost was enormous.

Of course the monasteries had "our kind" in it. With my own bias towards my own kind, I suspect that is why art, books/scrolls, music, etc. were preserved by them!

Of course many of the texts in the monasteries were "pagan" -- Greek philosophers. After all, if they had not been saved, the Medieval Scholastics would have had little to argue about, along with the philosophical and scientific texts coming from Islamic scholars. This is a simplistic notion, it was awfully complicated, as both Ben and I know.

Re gays and lesbians in church history, to the shame of all of us, this history was nearly obliterated. Good reading on this is provided by Dr. John Boswell's several historical studies. It is clear that there were same-sex couples in Church leadership from the beginning, in proportion to the population. In later times, Dr. Boswell notes, there existed in ritual books a blessing for "Friends."

Blaming Christianity for oppressing our people is too facile. In certain ages people who considered themselves Christians did so. In other ages this did not take place. In certain closer times this was done by the Nazis, led by the Roman Catholic Adolf Hitler, with the complicity of many of the RC bishops at the time. Today anti-semitism is not acceptable. Quite likely in the future it will surface again.

Homophobia is slowly going out of style in the USA. It can surface at any time. This does not excuse any Christian of any time for acting out their own dark fears and prejudices. But neither does it excuse others for condemning Christianity. Where it has been tried, it works. Where people have gotten tired of the freeing teachings of Jesus, Christians fail again.

End of lecture.
Nils.
------------------------------
From: George of Boston bostbill@ix.netcom.com
Subject: Re: Ancient Egyptian Lovers

Nils1935@AOL.COM wrote:
Of course the monasteries had "our kind" in them. With my own bias towards my own kind, I suspect that is why art, books/scrolls, music, etc. were preserved by them!

OK, list. Now that I am tired of fellatio, I promise to send the list some concrete evidence that Nils is correct in his statement.

George of Boston (Boston Bill)
http://bostbill.home.netcom.com
------------------------------
From: George of Boston bostbill@ix.netcom.com
Subject: Re: Ancient Egyptian Lovers

Jack McGee wrote: You're right about Augustine's writings...

Dear Jack,
Did you notice that Augustine didn't confess and give up that stuff until he was over the hill and it wasn't any longer so important to him? He was no dummy.

George of Boston (Boston Bill)
http://bostbill.home.netcom.com
------------------------------
From: "Ben Boxer" benboxer@mediaone.net
Subject: Re: Ancient Egyptian Lovers

Nils, you WOULD have to go and mention John Boswell! Some hurts recede with the passage of time, never to return, but others lie just beneath the surface and erupt from time to time in a tsunami of emotion that sweeps over me, then leaves my nerve ends exposed high and dry. When that beautiful man died of AIDS on Christmas Eve of 1994, it broke my heart. I had a crush on him for years.

The first book of his I had read was "The Church and the Homosexual: An Historical Perspective." His photo was on it, and WOW! I read everything he wrote after that. Apart from his elfin face, I came (yeah, several times!) to deeply admire his scholarship. I also read his critics outside the GLBT community, largely rank-and-file hatchet men on the Catholic Right, and found their scholarship wanting, certainly by comparison to his.

Everything he wrote is worth reading. There is a list of his writings at http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/pwh/index-bos.html

I used to have a couple of good pix of him, but they are long gone. One I found on the Internet, not so good, is attached. He was the best gay historian of the 20th century, and, for my money, the cutest Professor of History Yale University ever had!

Nils, I take issue with nothing in your latest post. As ever, I defer to you, except that I don't think homophobia will ever go out of style. I don't believe in Utopia.

I do love your reference to "the Nazis, led by the Roman Catholic Adolf Hitler, with the complicity of many of the RC bishops at the time." So few of the Royal Canaries like to think of Hitler that way. Did you see the British film, "Hope and Glory"? (I think that was the name, with Sarah Miles, because the score was partially based on Elgar's "Pomp and Circumstance.")

I loved the scene after a Nazi bombing of London, during which German aircraft took out a school, when the kids romped joyfully through its ruins, and one freckle-faced boy, waving his cap in the air, looked reverently at the sky and said, "Thank you, Adolf!"

I guess that's the way the R.C. bishops felt about Hitler. They had been appointed for their loyalty to him when the Pope gave him that power in exchange for better treatment of Catholics in Germany. Or so I have heard.

Your poetic imagery is quite thrilling: "Pope Leo at the bridge, holding back the marvelously wild and free people from the eastern steppes....." I only wish you could show me some contemporary imagery, too, perhaps a picture of a modern Pope leading Rome's Gay Pride Parade into St. Peter's Square. That may actually have been possible were John XXIII alive today. Ah! I dream!

Apropos medieval monasteries and "our kind," did you ever read the novel, "The Name of The Rose," by Umberto Eco? I tried reading it in Italian, but had to resort to it in English. The translation proved as labyrinthine as the story itself. The movie loosely based on it simplified the mysteries, and truly conveyed an impression of the Dark Ages. I think it was FILMED in the Dark Ages the lighting levels were so low, but I loved it.

I was intensely titillated sexually by the possibilities of the relationship between the priest-detective William of Baskerville, played by a sexily mature Sean Connery, and his novice/page, played by Christian Slater in his late teens before he got all rough and squirrelly. That pair was very conducive to fantasy for me! The overall hints of a gay theme in the mystery itself, and the clearly gay resolution, speak volumes for our thoughts about medieval monastery life, Nils!

Lastly, Nils, allow me to reflect in great seriousness upon the closing statement of your post: "Where people have gotten tired of the freeing teachings of Jesus, Christians fail again."

Oh, dear sir, thou hast hit the nail upon the head! Be ye not, therefore, provoked into missing and striking thyself upon the thumb when I suggest:

The Top Ten Things That Would Be Different If The Twelve Apostles Had Been Gay Men

The 'Sermon on the Mount' would be a musical

Jesus would never wear white after Labor Day

Priests would get married ... wait a minute ... never mind

The Gospels would be Matthew, Mark, Luke and Bruce

Mary's hair would be FLAWLESS

The Temple would not have been cleansed of money changers, just re-decorated

The water at the Wedding Feast of Cana would have turned into dry martinis with just a splash of Curagao for color

The Triumphal Entry just SCREAMS for a drag number

Replace the 'Beatitudes' with "Fabulous are they..."

The Last Supper would have been a Boxer Brunch.

------------------------------
From: Nils1935@AOL.COM
Subject: Re: Ancient Egyptian Lovers

Dear Ben, I understand your anguish at the mention of John Boswell. I met him at a Dignity convention in Philadelpia, many years ago. I stood in a small group around him in a hallway, I was delighted by his talk, and said so, and he flashed that stunning pixy smile at me. This was back in my mid 40s, and that very handsome young man cruised me four or five times while standing there, and I was ready to give up what was left of my virtue to him. He finally turned, looked once more and melted me, then went into the elevator. So, dear friend, we have something else in common, for I fantasized about him for years, too.

I agree that to expect an end to homophobia is to expect Utopia. But it is still important to insist on an end to homophobic control of our lives. That's why I just live, as directed by Auntie Mame.

Now that Boston Bill has finished his special course, he said he would devote some time to monkish monkeyshines in the Middle Ages, of ''our kind" of folks. That should be interesting. I hope he doesn't forget St. Aelred, our special patron saint of those days.

I started and quickly put down "The Name of the Rose," but enjoyed the movie. And relished the sight of young Christian Slater's pale buns above that grungy peasant woman. I also understood what they were talking about. I never went back to the text, it was not worth the effort to plow through, for me....
------------------------------
From: George of Boston bostbill@ix.netcom.com
Subject: Re: Ancient Egyptian Lovers

Dear Nils and Ben and all the rest of you beautiful men,
Obviously that sweet young professor John Boswell got around, because I also knew him. Of course, New Haven isn't very far from Boston. I have a photo of him pasted on the inside cover of his last book, "Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe", which he had promised to many of us for years but only finished writing in the last weeks of his final illness. The book was published by Villard Books, New York, 1994. John died of AIDS before the book was published.

I will scan John Boswell's photo and send it out with an excerpt from another of Boswell's books quoting from St. Aelred of Rievaulx, who became the abbott of a Cistercian monastery in the north of England in the 12th century. He and his monks knew plenty about the joy of same-sex love.

I'm not complaining when I note that it is difficult for me to contribute to a list where so many read the same books as I, and where all the other list members are brighter than I.

And I'm remembering I have another promise to keep to the list, having been reminded by a list member last evening. There is a sweet, handsome and sexy young guy in London who is waiting for my treatise titled "Getting Fucked and Loving It: Using All Your Body Parts for Pleasure". I've been reluctant to finish that essay because it will inevitably push various hot buttons for lots of different readers, such as those sensitive about obesity, about short hoses, about shit, etc. I will do my best to write diplomatically, but after publication I think I will unsubscribe for a month and take a vacation to Tasmania, if I can find the place.

George of Boston (Boston Bill)
http://bostbill.home.netcom.com
------------------------------
From: "Ben Boxer" benboxer@mediaone.net
Subject: Re: Ancient Egyptian Lovers

George of Boston wrote:
"....it is difficult for me to contribute to a list where so many read the same books as I....."

Ben Boxer says:
No problem, Pop. We all have different approaches and viewpoints. You, of course, are a worldly gramps who excels at cocksucking and buttfucking and other of the manly arts. I, on the other hand, am a genius at everything, pure and simple (with emphasis on the latter). Nils, who has contributed some fabulous nitpicking on our superior work, is (you may not know this) retired from cleaning latrines at the Vatican and thus knows religion from the bottom up. And we welcome articles and views from other historectomies...oops!...HISTORIANS on the list. Nobody looks at anything the same way as anybody else. We are not in competition.

George writes: "....all the other list members are brighter than I." Ben Boxer makes no comment on the obvious.

George writes: "I will do my best to write diplomatically, but after publication I think I will...take a vacation to Tasmania..."

Ben smiles:
You devil, you!
------------------------------
From: "Brendan" tigeraussie@hotmail.com
Subject: Re: Ancient Egyptian Lovers

If George can't find Tasmania we could always send him a map. In Australia a "map of Tasmania" is a colloquial term we use to refer to the shape of a woman's pubic hair! They both are of similar shape.
------------------------------
From: George of Boston bostbill@ix.netcom.com
Subject: Re: Ancient Egyptian Lovers

Dear Brendan,
Having been married for 23 years (but now single for 26), I don't need to go to that bush again. Now your outback might be a different story.
------------------------------
From: santa224 santa224@email.com
Subject: Re: Ancient Egyptian Lovers

Ah, dear George, "the burning bush"!?
------------------------------
From: Jack McGee jackmc@rocketmail.com
Subject: Re: Ancient Egyptian Lovers

Yes, if Brendan's outback looks as good as George's, let's all go.
------------------------------
From: Nils1935@aol.com
Subject: Re: Ancient Egyptian Lovers

And in Rio de Janeiro they don't say look at the basket, they say look at his Peru. Check your map for that one. Nils in Phoenix AZ. ------------------------------
From: George of Boston bostbill@ix.netcom.com
Subject: Re: Ancient Egyptian Lovers

Dear Nils,
Your Peru would look a whole lot more like my Peru if we could give the Peruvian departments of Tumbes, Piura and Lambayeque to Ecuador. Check your map.
------------------------------ From: "Brendan ." tigeraussie@hotmail.com
Subject: Re: Ancient Egyptian Lovers

I'm sure that all the Americans on the list have enough "Bush" to worry about as it is. I'll just get my atlas and check out the map of Peru.

Cheers Gents,
Brendan.
------------------------------
From: "Jack McGee" jackmc@rocketmail.com
Subject: Re: Ancient Egyptian Lovers

And George, with your grasp of cocksucking which may even surpass mine, a member of Mensa, and that beautiful ass of yours that you sent me a picture, are much to be admired (and jacked off over).

--- Ben Boxer wrote to George: You...are a...gramps who excels at cocksucking.....
------------------------------
From: Nils1935@aol.com
Subject: Re: Ancient Egyptian Lovers

I humbly bow to the superior intelligence, wit, and bonhommerie of BB.....but I will say that the nits I've occasionally picked off his body of work (as it were) were none of them hetroid!

Nils.
------------------------------
From: RDAtomicPunk@cs.com
Subject: Occupy your mind

See if you can do this. Read each line aloud.

This is this cat
This is is cat
This is how cat
This is to cat
This is keep cat
This is a cat
This is dumbass cat
This is busy cat
This is for cat
This is forty cat
This is seconds cat

Now go back and read the THIRD word in each line from the top.

(GET TO WORK!!!) Something keeping you occupied for forty seconds.

------------------------------

End of silverfoxesclub-digest V1 #197
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